The Post Office’s Horizon IT scandal is rooted in class prejudice

Regarding your editorial to Paula Vennells (24 May), one of the main themes of the Post Office IT Horizon inquiry is the complete lack of evidence of competence, curiosity or empathy in the leadership team; it is a theme that has appeared frequently in public inquiries in recent years. It is clear that the UK is infested with leadership teams staffed by people who are not there because of any kind of competence or merit, but because of exactly what their people do.

The distinguishing characteristics of these privately educated, overpaid and arrogant groups of people are their indifference to the real-life consequences of their actions for ordinary, hard-working people, their intrinsic belief that their kind are trustworthy and credible, unlike the little people, and their concern about the idea that they should be held accountable.

Whether in politics or business, we see this applied time and time again. The only way to prevent it is to ensure that it is impossible to create a life completely separate from the realities of ordinary people, so that this mentality and ours can begin to erode. It begins with the dismantling of private schools.
David Young
Rattlesden, Suffolk

• Marina Hyde rightly concludes with the Post Office scandal that there seems to be a class of people who are sent to prison and, in contrast, a class of people who get directorships (Into Britain’s angry pulpit steps Rev Vennells, who runs the Office of the Posts. – to explain why he sent honest people to prison, May 17).

His indictment could be taken further. Class bias is so great that one class accepts, without thinking, that hundreds of employees – the little people – are dishonest. Without these prejudices, it should have been clear to the slightest intelligence that the extremely high incidence of alleged theft was statistically implausible.
Margaret Pelling

• Marina Hyde seems surprised to learn that there is one class of people who go to prison and another class who get directorates. If this were not the case, the prison population would be representative of the country as a whole. Instead, it is heavily weighted towards people from broken homes, with poor education and mental health problems. And we seem content to make up this difference by sending record numbers to overcrowded prisons. Meanwhile, those who do real damage to society, especially the two prime ministers who have emerged recently, continue to dominate it.
Peter Coltman

• I am becoming concerned about the failing memories that are often revealed in the current glut of public inquiries. I hear a constant repetition of “I don’t remember”, “I didn’t know”, “I don’t remember”, “I may have”, adding to the widespread failure to remember the instruction not to delete WhatsApp messages. Has the time come for annual cognitive impairment testing of senior members of government and the civil service, and senior executives of corporations such as the Post Office? Perhaps it would be possible to convince Atos that the previous Department for Work and Pensions would have preferred to make an offer and, if it was cut hard, improve the quality of governance in these bodies.
Dr Alan foot

• Marina Hyde (the Reverend Vennells but he did not remember much about sending innocent sub-masters to prison. Until now so long ago, 22 May) rightly points out that the word “sorry” was de- founded by Paula Vennells. There was a time when it seemed like the hardest word to say because of the possible loss of face. Now it is too easy to deploy and has no impact or meaning now. Perhaps it should be banned from public inquiries and replaced with “guilty”.
Price Rod
Mollington, Oxfordshire

• Paula Vennells claims “I trusted too much” and echoes Prince Andrew saying he continued to be in a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein because he was “too honourable”. I would treat both claims with the same skepticism as a job applicant saying that their biggest fault was too much effort.
Bill Bradbury

• One might expect an ordained priest to know the Ten Commandments. In that case, whatever happened to “Thou shalt not bear false witness…”?
Sue Barnard
HaleGreater Manchester

• What was even more surprising than Paula Vennells blaming others even when she was in charge of the Post Office and her lame excuses was that she had only worked on this inquiry for three years, and it was a full time course. job for her in the past year. And after all this, apparently, this was the best thing she could do in giving her evidence. With that level of competence, it’s no wonder the scandal was made.
Dr. Richard Carter
Putney, London

• The statement “I don’t remember that.” has two meanings. One is that I have no recollection of that; the other is that I cannot allow myself to remember that.
Hardy died
Ripon, North Yorkshire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *